SOAS University of London

South Asia Section, School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics

Languages of South Asia at SOAS: Sinhala

Sinhala is the national language of Sri Lanka, where it was long ago introduced from northern India. Sinhala is therefore related, albeit distantly, to the Indo-Aryan languages of the north, rather than to the neighbouring Dravidian languages of southern India.

A knowledge of Sinhala is naturally a prerequisite for the study of modern Sri Lanka, and its older literature is an important resource for Buddhist studies courses

While Sinhala is not available as part of a SOAS degree, it is taught through the Language Centre (subject to demand).


Contact details for the Language Centre.

Suggested reading:

  • Fairbanks, Gair, De Silva, Colloquial Sinhalese, Parts I and II, New York 1993.
  • C.E. Godakumbure, Sinhalese literature, Colombo 1955.
  • W.S. Karunatillake, Spoken Sinhala, Colombo 1992.
  • C.H.B. Reynolds, Sinhalese: an introductory course, London 1995.
  • C.H.B. Reynolds, An anthology of Sinhalese literature up to 1915, London 1970.

Please Note: Not all modules and programmes are available every year